What Are Botnet Attacks And How To Prevent Them?

It’s also vital to pay attention that botnet attacks aren’t only affecting personal computers and laptops, but also smartphones and even IoT devices such as surveillance cameras, gaming consoles, and so on.

Botnets can ‘spread’ and affect other devices in both active and passive ways:

  • Active: the botnet can spread itself without requiring any user interference. Usually, an active botnet has a determining mechanism to find other potential hosts on the internet (i.e. computers with known susceptibilities) and will contaminate them when possible.
  • Passive: the botnet can only affect other devices with the aid of human interference. For example, the botnet may set a phishing or social engineering attack to contaminate other devices.

What are botnet attacks?

A botnet is a group of affected machines, which are harmonized through a command and control server. In simple terms, botnets are networks of machines employed to attack other machines. As the collection of bots increases, there will be a high amount of computer and storage power accessible for malicious agents to utilize. And when bot malware is operating on an endpoint, it has as much access to the resources of the machine as its user does.

Botnets and secrecy oftentimes go hand in hand. It will always be interesting for hackers that the victim isn’t cognizant of the infection so that the botnet remains available for the longest time possible.

What are the most common types of botnet attacks?

We can distinguish different types of botnets based on how they are managed by the attacker. There are different methods the hacker can employ to dominate and control the botnet; some are more complicated than other methods. Usually, for a bigger botnet, a main ‘herder’ or owner can handle the whole botnet from a central server, while other, smaller owners can control a smaller part of the botnet.

While there are different types of botnets, here are some of the most common ones:

  • Command and Control (or C&C): In this type, all devices in the botnet interact with one central herder or server
  • IRC: A.k.a Internet Relay Chat. This type of botnet concentrates on employing low bandwidth and simpler communication (like mIRC) to conceal its identity and keep away from detection.
  • Telnet: in this type of botnet control, all devices in the botnet are in contact with the main command server, so it is a subtype of C&C. The leading difference is that new computers are added to the botnet through a scanning script that runs on an external server. Once login is discovered by the scanner, it is then affected with malware via SSH.
  • Domains: an infected device has access to web pages or domains that spread commands. The botnet owner can update the code periodically.
  • P2P: In this kind, the botnets are not connected to a central server but instead are interrelated peer to peer. Each affected device in the botnet performs as both a server and a client.

Why does a botnet attack happen?

A botnet’s spread strategy necessarily determines its development, laying the foundation of bots for extra utilization. Once an attacker has endangered a machine on a network, there is a probability that all susceptible computers on that network become infected.

And more recent technologies, such as the IoT, have some peerless susceptibilities that make them favourable targets.

IoT networks are becoming an essential part of our digital world. Their sensor networks are varying from ordinary networks, in the sense that sensor devices are low-powered and sometimes even utilize batteries as their energy source. Thus, because of their power limitations, these restrictions mean devices have restricted processing capabilities, which often result in weak cybersecurity. And oftentimes, IoT devices also can’t be remotely patched, and therefore are left susceptible.

How to prevent botnet attacks?

Keep your software up to date

New viruses and malware are created every single day, so it’s very essential to make sure your whole system is also up-to-date to cease botnet attacks. Updating your software is also a good way to prevent DDoS attacks.

A lot of botnet attacks are designed to abuse susceptibilities in apps or software, a lot of them have potentially been set in the form of security updates or patches. So, make a habit of updating your software and OS frequently. You wouldn’t want to get affected by malware or any other types of cybersecurity menaces just because you overlooked updating software.

Precisely monitor your network

Carefully watch your network for unconventional activities. This will be much more efficient if you have a better understanding of your usual traffic and how everything treats typically.

24-hour monitoring of the network should be the policy if probable, by utilizing analytics and data-collection solutions that can automatically find aberrant behaviour, such as botnet attacks.

Monitor failed login attempts

One of the greatest menaces to online companies is account takeover or ATO. Botnets are often employed to test large volumes of stolen username and password mixtures in order to obtain illegal access to user accounts.

Supervising your usual rate of failed login attempts will help you set a baseline so that you can establish warnings to inform you of any spikes in failed logins, which may be an indication of a botnet attack.

Execute an advanced botnet detection solution

The best method for securing your website and web server from botnet attacks is to invest in an advanced anti-bot alleviation service, that can conduct real-time botnet detection. While botnet operators are now very complicated in concealing the botnet’s identity, the advanced solutions can conduct real-time behavioural analysis to find botnet traffic and obstruct all botnet activities before they even reach your web server. Executing bot protection can even enhance your initial server response time.

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